Friday, February 24, 2012

Ski Photographer For a Day

Grant Myrdal, the resort photographer at Mt. Hood Meadows, offers a workshop each month specializing in snow and action photos.  For the past three years, I've wanted to take the class, but it never quite fit into my busy life.  Then this Christmas I got the green light to sign up (a gift from my sweet hubby).

Size matters!  Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.

Mountain scenery from the top of Meadows

I chose the February workshop.  Two weeks ago, I packed up my camera gear for a day of shooting on the slopes.

Lone skier amongst the tracks

Grant is an incredible photographer.  He's a surfer who got his start capturing images of water, waves and other surfers.  His work has been published in a wide variety of surf magazines.  Now he's undergone a successful transition from riding the waves to riding the snow.  For the past three years, Grant's been a familiar face hanging out with his camera on the slopes of Meadows.  You can check out Grant's work on his website here.

Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters

Grant's an awesome friendly guy.  You can tell he really loves his job.  When I'm skiing at Meadows, I often see him on the side of some run shooting away.  He's taken many great photos of me, and I've purchased several of his images (which I've posted in this blog!)

Grant, my photo zen-master

So I was super-excited to be learning from a world-class professional photographer. I couldn't wait for the workshop day to arrive. Showing up for class that morning, I found out - much to my delight - I was his only student. The iffy weather forecast had scared away the other two students. Their loss - and my gain!

A line of little kids

The morning started out with a review of photography basics. Always a good refresher, no matter your skill level. But once all the necessary info was covered, the fun began. Time to get out on the slopes and capture some images!

Cool turns by Hood

As I emerged from the lodge, I was happy to see - bright sunlight! The forecast had hinted at clouds and rain, so this was a welcome surprise. Perfect light for a day of photography.

Happy kiddos on the lift

We started out high over the top of the Mt. Hood Express lift in an area with sweeping views of both the resort and the adjacent mountains. First, Grant had me practice a little bit of landscape photography. When I ski I'm always carrying my little point-n-shoot camera, which takes OK photos. But with my "big girl" camera, I was able to do justice to the wonderful scenery.

Had to get a telemark skier!

Every once and awhile a skier or boarder would appear on an adjacent slope. I switched to my zoom lens to capture the action. Grant was hoping someone would jump off the nearby cliffs, but we only saw one attempt.

This guy is good!

After an hour or so, we traveled to a nearby ski run to do what Grant does best - take action photos of snow-riders. Most resort photographers I've seen take posed still shots of their guests against the resort scenery. To Grant, this type of photography is boring. He's a man of action and action is what he likes to capture. I couldn't agree more! I love seeing photos of myself making turns on skis. And judging by the success of his business, others do too.

Snowboarder spraying snow

Grant put up his flag, and we parked ourselves in the middle of a blue run with a nice view of Hood. He gave me some instruction on how to aim my focus, and what compositions work best. Then we raised our cameras and shot away!

Another happy skier

Skiers and boarders began zipping by.  There were people of every age and ability.  And I tried to capture them all.

More fun from the lift

Oh, what great fun! It didn't take me long, and I got the hang of zooming in and following people as they slid down the slope. Lots of folks smiled as they swooshed by. The chairlift was overhead, and riders occasionally called out for us to take their picture. Everyone seemed to be having a good time

I love photographing kids!

The kids were my favorite subjects. Groups of little kids would come by, skiing in a zig-zaggy line. They mugged for our cameras big time.

This lady was skiing with a camera around her neck

What a blast, sitting slopeside shooting photos of everyone!  What a great way to combine the things I love most - skiing and photography. I told Grant he had the best job in the world.  He smiled and said "yes, I do!" 

Catching big air

After an hour and a half, Grant's memory card was full.  That meant it was time to pull up stakes and head back to the lodge to download the photos.  I was having such a great time, I really hated to leave.

Catching bigger air

After clearing our memory cards and reviewing a few photos, Grant had one more assignment planned for the day.  We headed over to one of the terrain parks, hoping to catch some action on the jumps.

Amazing high jump!

At the jumps, there were a few young men attempting to catch big air.  Grant instructed me to switch to my wide angle lens and position myself near the side of the take-off ramp.  It took quite a few tries to get the hang of it, but I was soon producing clear images of acrobatics frozen in mid-air.  By the end, I'd produced a few great images to be proud of.

This guy shows off his ski bottoms

At the end of the day, Grant and I downloaded and critiqued my photos.  I was amazed by all the wonderful images I captured.  Grant said I did a great job - he even complimented many photos saying they were as good as what he'd shoot (that really made my little head swell!).

So now I'm inspired to get out on the slopes with my big SLR camera.  I agree with Grant, shooting photos of people in motion is much more fun that taking stills.  Thanks Grant for such a wonderful day.  And thanks so much for your words of encouragement to this rookie photographer!


  1. Nice shots Linda! I always have trouble getting the right exposure for snow let alone movement! Have you cropped the skiers in the air photos at all or have you just picked them up as is with the wide angle lens?

  2. Great photos and what a fun day. I took a photography class 30 years ago. Maybe I need to take another one - maybe for digital photography this time.

  3. wow!!! that has to be a day to remember what a fun class you always take great shots but now you know it!!!

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone! Greg - in the last four "air" photos, I cropped the sides a little on the 1st and 4th images, but otherwise, that is the size I captured with my camera. I was REALLY close to these guys!

  5. The action shots are nice but the first picture is my favorite.


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